Posts Tagged ‘prototypes’
Recently, I got an assignment to create custom work for two music teachers. Personalized and reasonably priced were the only guidelines. Otherwise I was given free rein and let my creativity go wild. Well, not that wild, but I had fun. The obvious choice for custom personalized jewelry was to create 3D models and then get them 3D printed.
In the picture above, you can the see cufflinks for a piano teacher with initials TH. Each letter is surrounded by two octaves of miniature piano keys. The material is silver plated polished brass.
The other piece was a pendant for a viola teacher. It had to be delivered as soon as I got it from the service bureau, so the picture below is a rendering. On the note lines you can see the alto clef which is also called viola clef because it's often used with viola music. Also the notes, D and G, represent her initials. This pendant was made with 18K plated polished brass.
This is the first post in the upcoming sporadic series of DESIGN LAB. I will experiment with new manufacturing methods and techniques. Results and pictures, good or bad, will be posted here. Some of these sketches may eventually find themselves in production and the web store, but mostly I’m just playing around.
For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to try laser cutting. Though the laser cutter is pretty old technology, the price point is still very high. It is not in my radar to purchase my own machine quite yet. So, I turned to a service bureau; Ponoko.
Ponoko carries a vast catalogue of materials from leather and wool felt to acrylics and plywood. The prices for materials are reasonable, but price for an individual design may hike up fast, if the design is complicated and specifically if it includes lots of engraved details. This makes balancing between designer’s and consumer’s happiness tricky. Seemingly simple designs may end up carrying a hefty price tag.
This time, I chose to work with white melamine MDF, Cherry Veneer MDF and natural cardboard.
Cherry veneer has a nice sheen and works quite nicely for jewelry. Here, I made a simple pendant by utilizing a ready made silver setting and designing a piece to fit in. The lesson here; Fonts need to be bold. Otherwise, the result is too subtle with the natural wood grain. The “CHILL” text on the bracelet below is barely visible.
I was particularly excited with trying the “live hinge” method. Stiff material, such as wood, can be made flexible by cutting a pattern of vertical lines. Each thin part will give in a little, just enough to for a nice bend. However, for jewelry purposes and heavy usage items, this is just too brittle. It might be possible to use some kind of enforcement. For the bracelet below, I used duck tape :). For this to work, it needs more R&D.
Laser cutting is essentially flat design. With some construction, one is able to expand it to 3d. Here is a simple egg pendant which can be shipped flat and assembled when received.
The white melamine picks up detail really well. Even the thinnest lines will read clearly. Also, the material tolerates high heat pretty well. Therefor, it was my material of choice for this trivet.
One last material I wanted to experiment with was cardboard. These earring display cards will easily fold flat for gift boxes.
Oh, and a word of warning: All natural fibers and organic materials such as wood, leather or felt will be smelling like smoke. Laser cuts by burning. Eventually, the smell fades, though.
Aaaahhh...spring - it never fails. Birds are back, daffodils are sprouting and every piece of furniture in my house looks tired. It's time to either redecorate or maybe buy a new house to decorate. Either case, I'm definitely drooling over interior design magazines and blogs. Like everything, this too will pass and I'll settle into comforts of outdoor living during summer months and lazy hibernation beginning November. Every year, some items may carve a permanent tiny nest into my heart. The new flat pack furniture from Wintec and custom designed fair trade rugs from node definitely made a lasting impression.
Form and function in flat pack beauties
While I think of flat pack furniture, I can't help but to think of a certain Swedish discount giant. Fortunately, Wintec has now diversified my thought process. These beauties from the new Skin line are made to be loved. I can see them easily fit into both traditional and modern homes.According to Wintec, they are made from imported Finnish ply over a locally sourced and sustainable Saligna frame. The result a sculptural, organic and comfortable armchair. Finland has a long tradition in producing beautiful plywood which has, of course, been also used by such legends as Alvar Aalto in their designs.
Traditional Methods - New Designs
Node aims to connect a worldwide network of designers and artists with traditional Nepalese carpet makers to create beautiful handmade rugs.Their rug makers, Kumbeshwar are a founder member of Fair Trade Nepal. Employees are taught literacy and skills. In addition to fair wages their work supports a school of 260 children and an orphanage of nineteen. Node's mission statement sounds idealistic, but the rugs are stunning and priced well.
Node produces their carpets entirely by hand using age old and natural Tibetan carpet making techniques. All their carpets are made from bales of pure Tibetan wool. It is hand spun into thread, hand dyed with natural and non-polluting dyes, and then hand-knotted on our looms into carpet. While the rugs have the traditional lustrous feel of a traditional wool rug, they look fresh and completely new, thanks to the great designers and illustrators, node is working with. More importantly, you can send in your won custom design which they will reproduce. So, watch out world, you may see some rugs designed by me soon.
Bank of America Small Business Community is a great resource for small business owners. They just went live with a really nice article about 3D printing and design. I got to comment and explain how I use 3D printing in jewelry design. It is a good read that really makes the process easier to understand.
OK, so you are at the Burning Man festival and a drone delivers a statue of you. Does that
- make you wonder what exactly was in those brownies you just shared with your fellow burners?
- mean you are participating in a prototype project for solving the last-mile delivery problem for instances such as dropping medical supplies after a natural disaster?
- mean your mother has finally managed to track you down to deliver the statue she created at her ceramics class.
For the answer:
People often ask me what is this 3D printing technology that I'm using. Lisa Haroumi demonstrated it wonderfully in the 2011 London TEDSalon. Please enjoy the excellent presentation.